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Accidental gunfire kills 9-year-old Barstow girl

July 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Barstow Police are investigating the death of a 9-year-old girl.

Detectives say 22-year-old Justin DeBois didn't mean any harm. But he's now facing manslaughter charges after he allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend's little sister, according to police.

"It's very tragic. We have two families that are going to be impacted with this tragedy for the rest of their lives. It's just a hard lesson to learn that you don't treat guns unloaded. You should treat guns as always being loaded, whether they're loaded or not. In this case the results were tragic," said Barstow Police Sgt. Andy Espinoza.

It happened at an apartment complex on the 1200 block of Barstow Road Saturday just before 8 p.m.

DeBois was in the same room with his girlfriend's sister and other family members. Detectives say he had his .22-caliber Western-style revolver on the table. He was apparently going to take a picture of it for his computer.

Police say he then started playing around, spinning the gun like a gunslinger, thinking it was unloaded, when it discharged, hitting the girl in the head.

They called 911, and when police arrived, officers gave CPR, but to no avail. The 9-year-old girl died later at a hospital.

Now DeBois is in jail facing manslaughter charges.

"He has been very cooperative, he's been very remorseful," said Espinoza. "There's consequences to this kind of behavior, this kind of conduct. Tragically, we've lost a young girl, and now Mr. DeBois is faced with the possibility of going to prison for quite a while," said Espinoza.

DeBois was booked at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga and was scheduled for arraignment Tuesday morning. He was held on $75,000 bail.

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